Grid Shots: Political and advocacy statements


An anti-dooring sticker is posted on a pole on Wells Street. These were printed by individuals several years ago. The website has been defunct for a long time. Photo by Michelle Stenzel. 

Cyclists being doored is a major issue. It led to one death this year and in 2010, it comprised almost 20% of all reported bicycling-automobile crashes. There’s a political and advocacy cause in this issue: road designs must be changed and people driving and bicycling need to be continually educated and reminded about avoiding a collision.


Hannah’s Bretzel stores have bikes with big baskets out front with the message “low emission vehicle”. Are these used for delivery, or just parked here? Photo by Seth Anderson.


An advertisement spans Elston Avenue on a railroad viaduct that says “Save Health, Save Jobs,”. Photo by Michelle Stenzel.


A ghost bike is prepared in Daley Plaza for Jepson Livingston at the Ride of Silence in May. Photo by Drew Baker.


In July 2011, Grid Chicago asked the United States Postal Service to stop parking its trucks in bike lanes.


A mannequin placed on Wacker Drive by the Chicago Department of Transportation wears a black t-shirt printed with “One of 32 pedestrians killed last year [2010] in Chicago”. 36 pedestrians were killed by automobiles traffic in 2011. Photo by Mike Travis.

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Fatality Tracker: Cyclist avoids dooring and falls under wheels of semi truck

Photo of crash scene by Alex Garcia

2012 Chicago fatality stats*:

Pedestrian: 21 (9 have been hit-and-run crashes)
Pedalcyclist: 5 (1 is a hit-and-run crash)
Transit: 7

The Chicago Tribune reports:

A bicyclist was struck and killed by a semi truck on the Near North Side this morning, apparently when he swerved to avoid an open car door, authorities said. Police at the scene said the accident happened just before 9 a.m. on Wells Street in front of Walter Payton High School, just north of Oak Street.

The bicyclist was in the southbound lane and turned suddently to avoid an open car door and fell underneath the front wheels of the truck’s flat-bed trailer, police said.

As of 10:20 a.m., rescue crews were still working to remove the body. The bicycle lay near cars parked along the curb. The victim is male, but no other information was available.

Continue reading Fatality Tracker: Cyclist avoids dooring and falls under wheels of semi truck

Doorings in Chicago and NYC are still a sorry state but one of them is doing something about it


The decal on a taxi window says “LOOK! For Cyclists”.

I don’t report on doorings as often as I report on non-dooring crashes* but I should as it’s something we can affect with road design, a common theme of my writings. There isn’t much to say about dooring at the moment, but an article published on Wednesday about a new campaign in New York City to reduce dooring incidents between taxi passengers and cyclists caught my attention. Then two other things caught my attention.

New York City awareness campaign

Transportation Nation reported on a new video advertisement and decal being shown in all 13,000 New York City taxicabs in an effort to reduce dooring crashes. All yellow cabs in the city have a small TV for passengers; they’ll soon show a short clip about looking for cyclists before opening the door. A window sticker will say the same thing.

The message not to fling cab doors open without first checking for bicyclists will be hammered home in a video message that will play on all 13,000 Taxi TVs (assuming passengers don’t turn them off first). “Take out a friend,” reads the message on the video. “Take out a date. But don’t take out a cyclist.”

Continue reading Doorings in Chicago and NYC are still a sorry state but one of them is doing something about it

A very initial look at 2010 bike crash data for Chicago


The intersection of Grand/Milwaukee/Halsted has the third highest incidence of collisions between automobiles and bicycles at Milwaukee Avenue intersections. Will bicycle crash data help city planners focus their attention on improving safety at the spots with the most frequent crashes? 

I recently obtained from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) the 2010 vehicle crash data, which includes collisions between automobile drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians. I plan to update the Crash Portal with this information. But I also plan to do something more than make a map; Derek Eder*, myself, and others will dig deeper into the data to see what story we can tell with it. We’ll do that in addition to listing and visualizing statistics that citizen cyclists are more accustomed to, like the change in crash rates year after year. Continue reading A very initial look at 2010 bike crash data for Chicago